INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 01 Nov, 2009 07:30PM
Ok guys and ladies. We're on, the ride has started and it's all downhill from here. I know it looks
like uphill but it isn't. Get going and you will be amazed.
15.000 or 50.000 doesn't matter, whatever your target is the important thing is that you hit it.
Any questions, feel free to e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.comThe Librarian
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 24 Jul, 2009 10:48AM
The past week has been quite interesting and it is exactly 7 days since Ms Marsom (of the Arts Department at the Hewett School for those of you who don't know her yet) came back saying she'd got a promise from Mr Antony and Mr Samain for £400 to print our book! Depending on the total amount of books we print, £400 is enough for 100 to 130 copies. We already have some money as you know so now the total is at £525 including £50 from the Workshop.
I have spoken to bookshops (Border's, W.H. Smith, Waterstone's etc) and all are interested in the project and said that they will definitively take a look at it and probably sell it here in Norwich.
And then... lot's of stuff really, everything is going well I think. We have circa 170 pages and people are writing on different sections and there are a lot of the stories from the blog that are not even incorporated yet so I think we'll end up with between 300 and 400 pages. And, with any luck, they will be quite good too! I also saw Anna McCarthy from the County Council and she is actively helping us now to make the most of the project and not just the book.
And yesterday I saw this on Alexander Gordon Smith's blog (see the real blog here
Last, but certainly not least, I got to do a very special show –
special because it took place in MY OLD SCHOOL!!! I was invited in by
the librarian, Leif Ahnland, who also runs the fantastic creative
writing club. It was so cool being able to go back to my old school,
the Hewett in Norwich. I was there for seven years, and it's really
where I started writing properly, so to visit again to talk about my
life as a writer, and my books, was just amazing! Although most of the
teachers I had have now left, I did see some familiar faces, and the
school itself looked the same as I remember it (although smaller).
started off with a talk at lunchtime, and it was great to see so many
people there – especially as it was a gloriously sunny day and they
could have been outside playing! They were a really chatty, responsive
and entertaining group, and many of them were writers, so I thoroughly
enjoyed the session. Then, after school, I did a horror writing
workshop with the creative writing club, which was a fascinating
experience. The members were all ages – from year seven right through
to upper sixth – and they were all positively bursting with ideas,
which was so good to see. And they were so much fun to work with. I
have absolutely no doubt that plenty of these students will have books
published in the future - some are already better writers than I am!
I'll look forward to getting signed copies of their books in years to
come. You can check out their brilliant writing on the creative writing
club's blog here. It's
definitely worth checking out as they're putting together a fascinating
anthology which is totally unique and looks like it might be a big deal!
was a great day, made even better by the fact that I didn't have to
travel across the country to get there and back - in fact it was a
two-minute walk away! But a huge thanks to Leif and all the students
for making it such fun, and the best of luck to you all with your
- Alexander Gordon Smith, 9 July 2009
Well from all of us, thank you Gordon for coming in! It was great having you there and we look forward to having you back. And that you like The Librarian's Revenge
project is really cool!
That's all for now, keep writing over the summer and remember that there is still lots of time(until end of September at least) to write things for OUR book The Librarian's Revenge
PS. Today I have two more news... I've got a dummy copy of how the book will look when it comes to dimensions from Seriously Responsible Print here in Norwich, the printer we're going to work with (and who have given us a good really price too because they like the project so much). The paper is 100% recycled and feels great, beautiful and very real book like... The second update is that maybe there is an interview with the EDP in the pipeline, a journalist apparently overheard me and Gordon yesterday and seems to want to do an article about us.
Leif AhnlandPosted by Leif Ahnland 15 Jul, 2009 11:41PMDaniel challenged me to write a text for him to scrutinise and correct. The theme was optional: one on ABBA and the Swedish and one about a person getting sent to Australia for murder. There will be more as I found these constraints inspiring. I opted for the second one and please excuse the lack of murder and Australia so far. For now....
“They 'ave large tufts of woolly fur 'angin from the sides.. And the horns.. The Horns grow round the ears, menacing pain and promising de'ath. The eyes, penetrating, like demons', the odd shape of the pupils hypnotises it's prey. And on each foot two laarge, heavy talons ta kick yer teetbh out me lasses. Aye, t'is the most unnerving sight t'is...” The old man's tale of the Skye Isle Beasts was having the intended effect on his audience. They were all ears, waiting to hear more. “An' tha' wa' when Hamish struck out.. Do ye know wha' 'appened?”
“No, do say!” they chorused, enchanted. It was all so peculiar and appropriate at the same time. The Glengarry Castle smoking room was full of the putrid smoke of the sailors pipe, the air was saturated with the stuff. Still, all present breathed heavily, intoxicated by the prospect of hunting this monster. Turning to the woman of the group, the sailor went on
“Hamish wa' caught, lass, caught in the devil's trap five of these creatures from 'ell. 'E would no' accept it an' wa' determined to go down fightin' and taking as many of the demons with'im as 'e could...” The pause for dramatic effect was a bit too long.
Eileen Donnan was sitting quite regally in a Mary Stewart way, perched on the high chair they had started referring to as the Pied de Stool but the joke was lost on Wallace and Robert, their French was poor and their sense of humour, if possible, worse still. None of those who got the pun thought it was much fun anyway but as far as wordplay went they tacitly agreed it was passable.
Marcus Harrogate, now known as the Court Biologist, was presently taking notes, feverishly, added words to drawings. He ended up drawing what looked to the others as sheep but not for lack of talent. He was very good. His friends lamented he had not tried to go to Paris but he was happy in his native Scotland. The old man's description of the White Beasts of Skye added up to partially harvested sheep. But was what they looked like, from what he told them of their behaviour they were as far as one could get from placid grazers. By the sound of things they would shame the most ferocious Hydra. Harrogate tried to add more necks and heads and whipping tails. It was still a sheep. Confounded, he tried to catch up with the storytelling.
“Aye... lass tha' wa' summin' eh...”
The engineer snickered. Although he had nothing against hunting as such—some preferred golf or knitting—it was the notion of killing time that was such a strange idea to him. Everyone died so for what reason would we want to kill our only ally against oblivion? Pastimes that included a minimum of utility, of which hunting was one, qualified for consideration and if conditions were right he might even accept it. But he motivation lay elsewhere. Talisker, founded in 1830, was a small distillery in Carbost on Skye. That was the reason he was here. The invite had been convenient as he could now for one of those rare occasions shamelessly indulge in pleasure while having the excuse of business to hide behind.
TO BE CONTINUED.
WILL INCLUDE: HUNTING, MORE STUFF, DEATH, COURT AND SENTENCE, PRISON and, somehow, AUSTRALIA
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 08 Jul, 2009 01:12PM
Just an update from the Pseudocity Press Sales Department.
We sold another four books to a gentleman today. We now have £67.55, I think we need another couple of hundred to see it through. Oh yes, almost forgot, we also need a book to print so with not that much time left in the school and only a few more sessions we will have to sort some issues out with the narrative. I will talk to some people today; Seriously Responsible Print to see if and in that case how they could help us with printing and so forth and I will talk to Anna McCarthy who is the Arts Development Officer for Children's Services at the County Council. Both seem interested in the project so there are chances we have good structure within which to publish it. That means that you guys will be both published authors and
publishers at the same time. Which is kind of cool.
Hope you are well and I'll see you guys tomorrow. Remember to wear red!The Librarian
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 07 Jul, 2009 11:43PM
Today (Tuesday the 7th of July 2009) we did the first but hopefully not the last of The Librarian's Revenge events. There was dancing (not really) and singing (yes indeed) and merry making (very much so) and some other C.W. Hewett related shenanigans where we also got an entire audience (not that large but still) to do a creative writing exercise with us. And they wrote cool things! (Thanks Joe
for organising that and both your acts, good stuff.)
As far as we can tell this was a success on all levels and we have now, officially, sold 8 copies for £5 each and our funds total £47.55 which means we have £7.55 for promotional purposes etc. Ok, we realise this makes us sound a bit naïve but neither librarians nor english teachers are known for their business sense and we think this is great news. There is actually a waiting list for OUR book... How about that? (Speaking of the book, thank you very very much Michael
for some great poetry that needs to go in there, I would like to get them digitally.)
As a whole, the evening was a success on a much more important level and that was how much fun it was and that it ended up being something we think we will build on for the future. (Thanks Geoff
for your music and everything else.)
Finally, thanks so much everyone for making this happen, one step at a time... C.W. Hewett as in Collective or Creative Writing Hewett is a fantastic journey.The Librarian
and The Teacher
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 05 Jul, 2009 06:37PM
Good news dear Hewetteers. Today, in preparation for the Tuesday night event at the Workshop, me and Geoff went busking on London Street. It was a quiet day but modest funds were raised: we now have the first four pounds and fifty-five pence for our project.
[Thank you to the four gentlemen who kindly invested £2 for the benefit of our art.]
I will keep you updated on how we are doing on the financial side of things but this means, if my calculations are correct, that we have enough for the first copy. Which is a start.
Good work Geoff!The Librarian
C.W. Hewett's TLRPosted by Leif Ahnland 27 Jun, 2009 01:36PM
Here are some ideas for events, characters and themes that we can put
in the book. This also needs texts (books to find in the library) from
you guys connected to these things.The Gardener
In Book Two: A woman and her partner comes to school when everything is going really
bad and the librarian and the kids have just been robbed of their food.
Everything looks hopeless and this couple come in with new books and
energy and knowledge about growing food and so on.
Something about growing things, a book on flowers and vegetables. Recipes?
Two. A captain and (a soldier?) of some military or merchant navy
(Norway? Or British?) has been stranded when is ship was sunk of the
coast in a storm. Shipwrecked he makes his way to the school, having
heard about it from locals who couldn't take him in because they have a
hard time taking care of themselves. He/They will be useful in helping
the people in the school defend themselves from gangs and so forth. I
think it is also a good way of taking up issues about war and so on.
This could also create tensions between the Caretaker who sees himself
as the defender of the school.
In the end they will all work together anyway so it will be a positive thing.
A book on war, the third world war or something? Maybe not on wars. One thing that is possible is using Joe's
Servants in Thought
that could work well with the captain and the young boy as the heroes.
Two: A construction worker (Polish?) comes to the school at some point
and becomes instrumental in building things. The reason for him being
foreign is that it is a wa to discuss prejudices.
suggestion: A History of Organic Architecture
? Or something else, a
handbook on sustainable buildings would be cool I think...
Two: We need a strong female protagonist and I guess it would be
natural to have her be a woman the librarian falls in love with. We
have talked about this before and I think we agree that she should be
very different from him, a sort of negative soul mate. But not in a
negative way obviously. The suggestion I think could work really well
is that she is someone to whom things happen and that she has travelled
a lot to get to the library as opposed to the librarian who never goes
and anywhere and who reads bout things. You get the picture. She should
come into to the story halfway through the book I think, when they are
trying to build something that can function and so that they can
Georgie is looking at this already but anyone
with ideas on this character could, or should, have a go at writing
about her. She will be very important to the story.The Witch
Two or Three: When hospitals and doctors will not be as easy to reach
people will need ways to cure themselves so maybe there could be some
New Age kind of character who comes in and starts growing all these
herbs and stuff. A natural medicine and holistic NHS kind of thing. And
it could include foreseeing the future and other witchlike things. I
think this could be a really funny chapter.Text/book suggestion:
Becky is writing a story about a witch so that could work well here. Thanks for the idea by the way Becky.
The Pseudo City
In Book Three. As you may know, pseudo is a word that means:
imitation, simulated; faked, false; fictitious, mock adj.
simulated, pretend, seemingly; false, not genuine, mock
maybe because of the name of the publisher of the mysterious books
being Pseudocity Press (at the moment anyway) they may start to call
their community a pseudo city when it starts to work like a small town.
I don't know about this so you tell me if that is a good a idea. I'm
hardly objective on this matter as something with Pseudocity is what
I've called everything I've done for the last two years.
Ok. That were some ideas. If you guys come up with something please go ahead.
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 23 Jun, 2009 06:29PM"A Creative Work of Collective Fiction - A collage/collective/creative text by students (11 to 18 years old) and staff of the Hewett School Library in Norwich, UK."
Or here we came. This Sunday (21st June) I uploaded a Pdf version of parts of C.W. Hewett's The Librarian's Revenge
to Roma Fake Factory 100quotes Competition
. It consisted of 69 pages and a lot of it is, I think, pretty good. It is already a mix of our different texts but also in the framework text where Geoffrey , Georgie, Ellis, Joe, Martin and Kirsty have already contributed directly and many others who have contributed with ideas etc. (forgive me if I forgot someone.)
Apart from a lot of spelling errors, typos and inconsistencies that can be found in the Pdf, there is very
much that is not finished or even begun yet but I think it can become a very, very, very interesting project. And, ultimately, a nicely printed book for us to bring home and say: "Hey guys, we did this..."
Here is a direct link
to the pdf I sent.
I hope you are all well, see you on Thursday!The Librarian
Anne D.Posted by Leif Ahnland 04 Jun, 2009 05:14PM
a few years ago when i had a weekend with my dad. it was sunday and i was at church. my dad gave me 20p, and for some reason i put in my mouth and jumped off a ledge.
i couldn't breath properly. at hospital i got x-rayed, it was cool
i spent a restless night in hospital, and was fine.
Sorry Anne, I made a mistake while I was sorting out the posts. I found a version of yours when I had deleted it. Please forgive me!
C.W. Hewett's TLRPosted by Leif Ahnland 31 May, 2009 11:24PM
Hi. What follows is an attempt to define a little more clearly what is going on in The Librarian's Revenge. I have discussed this with some of you already. This post will be added to as we go along. Please think about things connected to the story, such as different outfits the Librarian could wear and who he could meet and what the library looks like and what happens there and and in the outside world and... well, in short, things that could go into the book.
There are already quite a few pages with text that you are welcome to read, propose changes and add to. Ask me for a copy
editors explain the discovery of the manuscript and some of its
intricacies; they discuss the strengths of the text and how it contains books
within books. References to for example Italo Calvino's If on a
Winter's Night a Traveller.
Hewett introduces the Zeitgeist of the text and the backdrop against
which TLR is played out, a "perfect storm" of different problems faced by humanity. The four horsemen of the APOCALYPSE: War, Famine, Plague and Death. The hope in
hopelessness. The setting of the figurative stage: What books are
about, the role of a librarian. A description of the generic library.
Press the importance of fantasy and imagination.
One - Entering the Labyrinth
The library as it starts out. The decline of society. The first
disasters. The ubiquity of communication technology in a world of
Solitude. The first books from Pseudocity Press (which are in fact
One – The Dawn
The Librarian. The setting of the physical stage. Description of the
actual place: A library in a comprehensive school full with students
and staff and sports fields and hallways and rooms and alcoves and
staircases and roof and so forth. Large building complex. Outside, the perfect storm
of different disasters is brewing.
Who loves books and why they are important. Readership. That we use
stories to understand the real world.
Our DICTIONARY definition of for
example Book, Library, Librarian etc..
Jorge Luis Borges The Library, Dictionaries. Anthologies
Librarian Around 25 years old when the story starts. Hero. Meek. Unsociable. Filters the
world through texts. Often speaks by quoting. Probably called Dewey
but thinks of himself as The Librarian. Has an obsessive compulsive
disorder kind of relationship to books. Was maybe “born” in a library (or bookshop) where his
mother worked. He grew up in a dusty public library's (bookshop's) storage rooms.
Autodidact in everything from history to maths. Played by himself
and sometimes with the caretaker's dog. Cut small dolls from weeded children's
books, read fables to himself. Invented games? Built houses with cardboard boxes and old books. Dresses very boringly and is not very well groomed. Has
kissed, had sex, killed, ruled, died, been resurrected, stolen, loved
and lost love, explained God and Death and myths, told the history of
the world, waged wars and built empires; all this and more through
the books he read.
Two – The New Book
Balthazar (kid one), Rigmor (kid two) and The Leprechaun. The new
book mystery (Suggestion: Andrew the Sausage). Bullying. First hint of Financial
crisis. Someone fired?
The healing power of stories.
NURSERY RHYMES + FAIRY TALES + FOLKLORE
C.S. Lewis, old rhymes, the Grimm Brothers.
10 years old. Likes absurd stories. Cries a lot. Calms down when read
to. Reminds Dewey of himself when little. Parents lost job,
15 years old. The Reading Rebel. Proactive. Cocky on the outside. Lonely. Maybe a bully sometimes. Strong when it
counts. Will later save the library from a fire. Reads anything but
Leprechaun - Wee Willie What at first appears to be a figment of the
librarian's imagination is the fairy that appears one evening and
causes mischief. The small being becomes a nemesis and will resurface
throughout the book. Will function as scapegoat when something goes
wrong. The guess that To please Willie, The Librarian will start to
set food out which will be gone in the morning. A mystery... Reading
up on fairies in books on FOLKLORE and LEGENDS
The leprechaun is indeed a person. A small child, 11 years old at
most, has hidden in the library because it doesn't want to go home
because of his/her parent's bad behaviour. (He or she will probably
be a girl.) Further on Willie is detected and the hideout discovered.
Sparks a reading of the librarian's own DIARY where we learn that he
lived under similar conditions once. In Chapter Four or Five the
librarian will learn the truth about Wee Willie who is Marilyn in
reality. He will start to take care of her properly but without
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 29 May, 2009 12:05PM
Ok everyone. Very quickly, just to say that I am still alive and that there is work going on during half-term. I have not been focusing on the blog because all the time has been put into developing the main text for The Librarian's Revenge
I'll be back before Sunday with a proper update and then we can talk about it in the library and during the club once school starts.
Thanks for posting. Enjoy the last few days of half term!The Librarian
C.W. Hewett's TLRPosted by Leif Ahnland 15 May, 2009 07:45PM
Just a suggestion from someone. The Librarian's mother was a librarian and didn't get to the hospital on time and therefore gave birth to our protagonist in the library where she worked back then. Destiny...
Comments and ideas here, anyone?
EXERCISESPosted by Leif Ahnland 12 May, 2009 04:49PM
· Choose an opening sentence from a book (unknown when choosing).
· Choose an ending sentence from a book (unknown when choosing).
· Write a short story in thirty minutes using these two sentences as the beginning and ending.
“Someone must have slandered Josef K, for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.” - From The Trial by Franz Kafka
“The knife came down missing him by inches, and he took off.” - From Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Revised draft - Additions or changes are in bold (Note: Everything after That prospect held no attraction whatsoever is added to the original draft.)
Someone must have slandered Josef K, for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. It was not the first time it had happened though. In fact, he was getting so used to being stopped in the street having large men in grey trenchcoats, hats and sunglasses ask him "Are you Josef K?" that he barely raised an eyebrow any more. Or when, in the middle of the night, he would be roused from sleep by the sound of leatherclad knuckles knocking on the wood of his door and he would spend the following day in a windowless interrogation room. Once they must have been frustrated by his deep sleep because he was woken up by someone shining a flashlight in his eyes. In his pajamas he was then shoved through the hole where his door used to be and the only thing he was wondering was how much it would cost to replace it. The protests and the "Whys?" and the "what's happening, where are you taking me, who are you, what have I done, I'm innocent!" had all been found useless so he had just stopped saying anything. He would only answer "Yes, I am Josef K" and hold out his hands so that they could put the handcuffs on properly. It hurt less that way.
By now, the burly men in trenchcoats knew him rather well. A lot of rides in cars with blackened windows can be quite the catalyst for intimacy as many diplomats and call girls would have you know. He could tell the difference between them too. A birthmark on the cheek or a slight limp would distinguish one from another but as far as he knew they had no names. So he had secretly baptised them, naming them after famous prisons. George Folsom. Albert Spandau. Michael Tower. John Kumla. Saint Quentin. On sundays, when he would take his habitual stroll in the park to read the Sunday Supplement of the paper by the duckpond, he would see some of them. They were quite easy to spot. Recently, the city had suffered a heat wave of cataclysmic proportions and while everyone who could not afford to go to the seaside would be wearing as little as possible without being obscene, the large grey men would faithfully stick to their trenchcoats and their hats. Of course, it was anyone's guess what they were wearing underneath. There could even be tubing of an elaborate and portable cooling machinery for all he knew. A heavy rainfall would make them a little less conspicuous but then the sunglasses would make them easy enough to pick out. In short, they were a secretive as an elephant in a warehouse full if bohemian crystal. Josef K used to nod or wave in their direction and they would return his salute.
He wondered why they they would ask him for his name since by now they must know it. He put it down to habit. His recurring arrests had turned into a sort of ritual and if they would stop asking for his name he would probably feel a bit... cheated. Once, he had not been arrested for three months at the very least and he had grown impatient and nervous; and, when they finally came to pick him up, he had felt relieved and even let a small sigh of pleasure escape him as the reassuringly cold steel of the handcuffs was pressed upon his skin.
But this time it was annoying. He had caught the tramcar, line 22, and was quietly sitting on the tram on his way back to work after an unsatisfying lunch over at Le Grand Cru when he heard "Are you Josef K?" It would have been all right if he had not already been irritated by the stubborn sliver of chicken stuck between his teeth. It is possible that everything would have been just another routine session of FAQs in the bunker if he had not been wound up by a small mouthful of badly cooked poultry. He had been picking at it with his penknife for the last fifteen minutes and was just about to pry it loose when he looked up into the black bulbs of a pair of sunglasses. They would take the penknife away and he would be condemned to sitting with that piece of rotting chicken teasing him, for who knows how many hours with a lamp shining in his face answering the same meaningless questions. That prospect held no attraction whatsoever.
Perhaps that is the reason for why he thrust the penknife through the temple of George Folsom in one surprisingly smooth movement; instead of nicely playing along and say "Yes, I am Josef K" whilst nodding in recognition to his captors. The struck man fell over with his mouth open, literally crushing the old lady who had been sitting on the seat in front of Josef K. She had seemed nice but shortsighted and not very bright. It was still a shame. John Kumla and Albert Spandau must have been highly trained agents but this was the first time anyone had ever resisted violently, shedding blood. That can be the only explanation for why they stood still, watching their fallen collegue, when the clerk shaped man in front of them roared "YES!" And after an ever so brief pause, the clerk shaped man added through gritted teeth, "I AM JOSEF K." And then, Josef K charged. John Kumla looked up just in time to have an umbrella splinter the glass covering his left eye. The steelcapped tip of the umbrella came to a stop halfway through his brain and that was the end of him. Albert Spandau finally reacted but by grabbing his comrade in his arms instead of repelling the following attack and was therefore unable to protect his knee from Josef K's briefcase. It was an old model made of leather coated hardwood weighing the three kilogram briefcase and containing almost four kilograms worth of paperwork. Propelled through the air at 45 kilometres per hour on the wings of pure fury it connected with the officer's kneecap and the crunch was indeed gruesome. The pain made Albert Spandau pass out and both the trenchcoats collapsed, falling to the floor. Two thuds that sounded like one.
The tramcar had stopped, standing still on the Brass Bridge, and the absence of rattling metal was suddenly deafinening. The sound of the traffic was carried away by the wind. No screams escaped the other twenty-two passengers caught in the fray. Below, the green waters of the river seemed to be the only thing still in motion in the whole city. The driver had opened the doors but no one was thinking clearly enough to get out and not a single one of the persons aboard the tramcar moved a muscle.
Apart from Josef K. He was panting lightly as he stuck his hand in his breifcase and grabbed a heavy book. This particular book had been slightly altered as it threatened to fall apart. Josef K had never managed to finish it, for some reason he kept losing track and had to start over, again and again. It was as repetitive as his arrests. But he was determined to finish that cursed book and while it would probably had cost less to buy a new copy, he had grown fond of the one he had carried around all these years. Therefore he had gone to a specialist shoemaker who had made a leather cover with reinforced edges made of folded brass sheets, adding both weight and sturdiness to an already thick volume. He pulled it out. He held it up menacingly, ready to throw it. And then he threw it.
Michael Tower had been standing by the exit, guarding it according to procedure; but since no one ever tried to run away he too had been caught off guard by the one man uprising. Stranded in the middle of a mental nomansland, too stunned to produce an initiative, he just closed his eyes in panic when the hardback copy of The Trial came hurtling towards him. An ordinary Josef K could hardly have thrown the book at anywhere near dangerous speeds but Josef K in this particular moment of his life was filled up with a force which burned like fire. Had it hit Micheal Tower in the head as was intended, it would have knocked him senseless. Only Josef K's innately faulty aim and a miscalculated muscle strength versus book weight equation saved Michael Tower. A literary gem sailed harmlessly through the opened door and far into the river. There must have been a splash but this was a high bridge and if it made a sound no one heard it. Realising what he had just thrown away, Josef K shuddered into action again and everything blurred for an instant when Josef K took two leaps towards Michael Tower and after the book at the same time as the only remaining agent finally sprang to life. While pulling a long, thin knife from under his trenchcoat, he braced himself for the impact. But the third leap took Josef K past the tower of a man and through the door, barely eschewing the curved blade that was slicing the air in an arc upwards and then, with a jump, he landed on the granite railing of the Brass Bridge. He was by now oblivious of everything else than the vision of the ink smearing between the pages and the paper dissolving on the bottom of the river. Desperation took hold and he felt like his wrists were slit open and his life draining out of him. He had to save it. Not his life. The Book. He scanned the surface for a sign of where it had sunk, giving Michael Tower the time to turn around and steady himself enough to stab again. Josef K bent his knees as if to jump. The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 29 Apr, 2009 11:25AM
For the moment, the idea is for C.W. Hewett's The Librarian's Revenge to introduce different genres of litterature and other kinds of texts using your writing. It seems everyone agrees on this so now we must decide on how to that. Below I have listed the "genres" I think could be relevant and an idea for the sequence in which they could appear.
Some of you have stories you want to include in The Librarian's Revenge and they will probably fit more or less in one or two of the following genres. Please "choose" what genre/s you are interested in exploring and write it in a comment to this post.
Fairy Tales/Children's books Books like Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll are advanced fairy tales rather than fantasy.
Young Fantasy The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling are aimed at a younger audience and take place in world that is parallel to the 'real'world. Terry Pratchett is also aiming at the slightly younger readers but is appreciated by adults as well.
"Pure"Fantasy J.R.R.Tolkien, Ursul K. LeGuin and others have written huge epics which are set in entirely fictional worlds.
Science fiction From the very gadget and space ship
Dystopic novels Technically almost Science Fiction, 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 are all interesting and sharp
Horror fiction Edgar Allan Darren Shan
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 29 Apr, 2009 09:02AM
This week we will have to start defining certain things so that we can move forward with the full text of the The Librarian's Revenge.
The Librarian, his friends and enemies For example, we need to understand some fundamental aspects of the librarian's personality. In this post I started to propose an outline of the main character. But we also need to invent some more characters, central ones and side kicks etc.
The framework story also needs to be defined. What happens when and how and so forth. This is something that is already being developed but we have to agree on a strong backbone for the story.The vision now is to start in a present day kind of situation and move through a decline and fall of civilisation to a new kind of society. I think this is interesting because then we can turn the text into a reflection on life and our world and where it's heading.
Workshops Today and tomorrow we will do conduct some workshops on the above themes. For anyone who can't make it there will be plenty of time further on to influence these issues but we need to try and come up with
Printing and publishing I have taken the liberty to start contacting people who can help us print or even publish our book once it's finished but that is nothing we can count on even if there are some promising leads.
The amount of texts that have popped up only since last week is amazing and I think we are doing very well. There are a lot of qualitative texts on the blog already, proving that not only is there a talented and enthusiastic crowd working on the project but also that we have chosen a good way of working together.
Great job everyone!
Leif AhnlandPosted by Leif Ahnland 27 Apr, 2009 08:23PMThis is something I wrote when taking a creative writing course three years ago. I was pretty happy with it then but am not sure how good it is. It is alway tricky judging your own work. Anyway, I got jealous now that everyone is writing so great stuff and it said zero next to my name so I figured I had to post something too. I'd very much appreciate comments on it. Some of the things you might think strange were intentionally strange. But if you see something, give us a shout.
Long walk, two men and one baby boy.
I met a little prince today. “The boy is dressed like an astronaut in a dark blue, tight sweater, and a dark blue, tight cap. He looks an astronaut and he behaves like one; serious, curious and concentrated, at work. A ten month old astronaut, exploring space and this new planet, rolling around in his small spaceship.”
Extraordinarily enough he doesn’t seem to need any breathing equipment or other protective space-gear; all he wears is his in-ship suit, even though this new world is obviously hostile.
He’s got the tell-tale blue eyes all the space-babies have, a blue intensified by all the space-baby-diet supplementary nutritients. For example, the ones born in space need almost twice the calcium earthborn do. They need three times the iron, double rations of carbohydrates; you name it, they need it, only much more than you did. Then we have the emotional aspects of being thrusted from the womb, not only to a colder and louder place but so much darker too, in every way. Let’s not go there tonight, I don’t think I understand it well enough to explain.
Who the father is? One of the frontier legends. The work he has done cannot be underestimated. He is, to most of us, the first of the vanguards recon-platoon. A battalion all by himself. An endless source of inspiration. Always one step ahead, immediately considering the new situation derived from analysis of the last answer, that being the answer to the question the rest of us is racking our brains to even begin to formulate. Source of frustration as well. Pleas for help or advice are usally met by a smiling silence. This is not him being a guarded or distrustful person. He knows all of us, him included, would be better off if we could all work at the same level. But it is either the way he puts it:
"I’m sorry my dear but you would not understand. Yet."
or, which is what I say, that:
"He doesn’t understand it yet."
Having known him for nine years now, almost to the day, I believe I can say this with some authority. Let me explain. It was august, 1997. We were all at the preparatory school, beautifully located 50m from the islands western shore. We went for a swim every lunchbreak until the end of september that year. One of the first things he said to me was this:
"We have a seal in our midst! A beautiful fat seal up and down in the water."
I know it sounds a bit silly today but back then I remember being so proud that someone like him would say anything at all about me. I think almost everyone knew instinctively that he was special. And as soon as we got to see his early work we didn’t have to doubt at all. We got the He-is-the-One feeling.
He went on to the Academy of course, first in London and then back here for the final two years. I chose another path, the path of the ambiguous and the doubtful. I was never one for the A-team. But we kept in touch and now, working with him like this, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
He doesn’t understand yet. What I mean? That beautiful brain of his knows, his sensitive gut screams YES! and that heart of gold that he wears like an incapsulated amulet, beats a steady du-dum of confirmation. His whole system turns into an ocean of certitude. There is no doubt, the sheet where he scribbles his notes in a private and encrypted short-hand looks a runway to him, flight-control just gave him the go ahead, the air is clear and nothing will stop him now. This state of bliss will not last of course, somewhere he knows this even as he flies in his shaft of light. And at the same time as he looks at his work and he sees that it is good, at the same time he cannot make it coherent, not for one second, not to us. And not to himself either.
How do I know this feeling? Because once, I too was in love.
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 25 Apr, 2009 11:27PM
Since the writing has really taken off since last Thursday, this might be the time to come with suggestions for how to post and read stuff. Since a blog offers the possibility to comment, a sort of dialogue can actually take place between reader and author. But, it can be a good idea to help the reader by explaining how a specific post should be understood/interpreted. Even more so here since we are using it as a tool for publishing and feedback.Exercises:
If it's an exercise there's nothing to it really, just describe the task and perhaps any rules (timelimits, wordcounts etc.) that are relevant to the reader. Check out how Georgie did it here
For your stories it might be important to instruct the reader what to look for. Or ignore. Perhaps you don't want them to come with feedback on the plot but only on the characters' physique and/or how you describe what they feed their pets. Maybe you are not interested in comments on grammar, spelling and vocabulary but then again maybe you are. If you have a clearly stated reading instruction as a first paragraph, in bold
, the comments you get might be more to the point, or at least help you with specific problems. Joe's instructions here
is one example and here
is another one.IF ANYONE HAS MORE IDEAS ABOUT THIS, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW
EXERCISESPosted by Leif Ahnland 24 Apr, 2009 11:44PMTask:
Choose two random facts from the book ‘BLABLABLA
- Something to talk about when you don’t have anything to talk about: 600
completely pointless facts’.
Write a short story in twenty minutes
incorporating both facts.
“According to surveys, 57% of Americans shower every day.”
“Normal rice has five times more DNA than humans."Slightly revised draft - Additions or changes are in bold
"Ah..." I said to the world in general, the water dripping off me as I stood in the backyard. "It's not like you can't be clean just because you live off the grid like an old hippie," I chuckled to myself. I enjoyed the soft breeze on my skin and the sun was doing its bit as well. At this rate I would be dry in a matter of minutes, just from standing still. I would probably have remained like that, planted firmly in the ground until sunset, eyes closed and mind wandering, if it hadn't been for the sound of someone coming around the cottage. Panicking, I looked frantically for something to hide behind. But I was nailed to the spot by the same kind of paralysing terror a rabbit or a dear await the onrushing car, staring into the headlights - frozen.
"Mikey boy, are you there?" I heard the gravel pitched voice of Mrs Dainty. Christ! Not this, not here, not now!
The moment of utter immobility of time and space
that followed lasted long enough for every single detail about it to etch itself on an indestructible metalplate in my brain and store itself away in a completely unbreakable
, burglarsafe vault deep inside my soul. It would never ever go away.
Her whole body rigid shock,
Mrs Dainty looked like she would fall over any second when what was perhaps the strangest sound I had ever heard broke the silence. It took me a while to understand what it was and where it came from. The only reason I could identify it was that I could feel my mouth move. I was speaking.
"Oh Hello Mrs Dainty," I had apparently croaked. No answer apart from a gentle swaying. "Nice weather today isn't it?" Still nothing. Just a slow rocking, back and forth. She'sgoingtofallovernowhitherheaddieandI'llgetlockedupforlife my mind was racing as I believe you would put it.
Hoping to break the deadlock I said, "I just had a shower. Every day. I'm one of the 57% of our fellow Americans who have one. Every day. Nice and clean I am, yes sir..." Silence. "Yep..." I ventured, at a loss. I changed the subject, grabbing at a random memory, "Speaking of percentages
, you know that the chimps have something like 99,3% of identical DNA. With us I mean. Evolution, see."
I must have been determined to kill her off. The 89 year-old creationist and mother of four TV-preachers - Take the Dainty Way to Heaven
was on every Thursday night on MYBC
and a huge success - was, it seemed, about to dissolve into a bubbling puddle of green goo when the spell broke. By some gargantuan effort, she must have managed to reboot her brain, launched some editing software and simply patched over the bits and pieces of reality she couldn't handle. I can only guess what she thought she was looking at when she opened her mouth. She spoke
in the chirpy voice which is the trademark of the old ladies around here and not with her usual, deep alto of gospel choir standard.
"It's funny you should say that Mr Marksman. I heard the other day that normal rice has five times the DNA that humans do." And then, she keeled over.
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 24 Apr, 2009 10:57AM
Note: This is a drafted idea for who and what the protagonist of the librarian's revenge could be. There are also some ideas for timeline and setting. It is up for revision, please comment.
Character portait: The Librarian is so far the character that will provide, in a passive way, the narrative. He is a man, about thirty years old when the story begins. He does not yet have a name and possibly should remain nameless. He or The Librarian might do just fine. Right now his personality is pretty much undeveloped.
It is pretty obvious that he is sketched on something similar to myself, I apologise for that but it just started out that way. I am open to any objections or suggestions for alteration. For example, He could be a She which would obviously change things but I think it is a good thing that He is a He as school librarian's tend to be Shes. I will for now refer to the librarian as a he/she. (On the other hand, there should of course be more people working in the library so there is plenty of room for equally important, protagonist Shes.) As the story picks up speed, he/she will hopefully evolve into something interesting, developing a personality and idiosyncrasies of his/her own.
Setting: As you will have understood the setting is a library and surroundings. At the most the physical movement of the characters should be extended to the city. Many of your stories will be set abroad or even on other planets and in other dimensions so we should keep a low profile when it comes to C.W. Hewett's story.
Timeline: Because this project will function like... eh... a fruit? An onion? Something with layers anyway. A proposal for the external timeline if you follow me - the one including the editors - is this: C.W. Hewett finishes his/her manuscript in 1948 and it is 'posthumously' published in 2084. The dates are chosen because George Orwell published his classic dystopic 1984 in 1948. Tell me what you think. The 'internal timeline' - the one in C.W. Hewett's own text - starting with some undefined present day which should be realistic and similar to our times - i.e. climate change, hardships and wars and trouble. Gloom is good for stories. Perhaps somewhat absurd but believable. As it unfolds, time passes and could make the story function like a historically accurate account of the 21st century. I hope you like this idea.
Also, because of the scope and timeline of the story as it looks now, as it begins he/she is probably between 25-35, otherwise he/she won't last until when he/she finishes the book. Possibly he/she could be a very old man/woman by then and therefore older when the story start.
Perspective: At the moment - barring mistakes - the story is written in the third person perspective and past tense from the prologue onwards. Sometimes it might make sense to have the librarian write a letter or diary entry (or blogpost or similar) in the first person perspective. Since your stories will shift a lot in style and content and genre, it is probably a good idea to keep the librarian's story pretty steady and not too fragmented.
INFORMATIONPosted by Leif Ahnland 24 Apr, 2009 01:27AM
This goes out to everyone. It is a beautiful thing to see when something starts to grow; organically, exponentially, it really is. And this, Creative/collective Writing Hewett really does. I will comment on your work as soon as possible, the trick will be to manage to do it now that there are so many of you that have started to post your work so prolifically. Both the exercises section and the ones where you post your stories work wonders. Well done my friends.The Librarian